Thursday, January 13, 2011

Am I Less of a Yogi?

Should I admit that I'm a certified yoga instructor that doesn't know Sanskrit? Does it make me any less of a yogi? Sure I know a few of the common poses, but I certainly don't know all of them–not even close to all of them. Not only do I not know them, but I never use the words in my classes. I teach a beginners yoga class and it's hard enough for my students to get the drift of the different poses without throwing a new language at them. After all, hearing me say, "standing forward bend" is pretty clear. No translation necessary.

I certainly don't want to take away from hundreds of years of tradition, but I'm very disappointed in a new iPad app that I bought to help me build and lead my yoga classes. This app was my dream come true. I spend hours in Photoshop cutting and pasting from my libraries of pose illustrations to build a visual pose cheat sheet. This is a painstaking process that results in Photoshop files including 60 different layers. Not easy to manage to say the least. I dreamt of a piece of software, or some sort of app, that would allow me to build out my routines and then give me the option to either print them out in hard copy, or better yet, play the routine.

Lo and behold I found an iPad app that did just that. Could this really be the answer to my prayers? It sure did appear that way. Not only did it solve the problem of the clunky, cumbersome building of my routines, but it also solved the problem that it's sometimes difficult to see my hardcopy print-outs in the dark room. I could pick all my poses, arrange them in the order I want, and even set the duration of each pose. This was great!

Once you build the program, you can just hit "play" and your entire routine would show up on the beautifully lit high resolution screen. Each pose fills the screen making seeing it a cinch. But here's the problem . . . the audio cues are ONLY spoken in Sanskrit. I wanted to cry. In many poses I would be relying on the audio cues to help me, the instructor, know the next move. And how terrible that I don't know my Sanskrit? It really does make me feel like a failure. Should I have been able to get my certification without this knowledge? I wonder.

I just wish the makers of this awesome Yoga HD app would consider an update that allows you to choose the language for your cues. If you're interested in this very cool app, check out the video below.


Anonymous said...

I hardly use sanskrit either. The common word I use is chaturanga cause it's fun to say and most people know it. I resist saying sanskrit because there are a lot of Indian's in my class and they all speak it that I would sound like a fool if I attempted some of the names. Plus we are in America so speak English!

Kat said...

I teach a mixed-level class with quite a few beginners, in a gym type of setting. I don't use sanskrit either because I want it to be accessible and not intimidating.

I write out my lessons, using abbreviations for many poses, but just have my sheet next to my mat.